The concerns and potential issues with electronic voting systems have long been discussed in election security and IT security circles, and even in courtrooms. These concerns have been heightened in recent years, especially among traditional liberals and conservatives, as evidence has trickled out over the Trump administration that the nation’s intelligence community has been politicized and used against Democrats’ perceived political enemies.
Under this environment, no one should be surprised that the alleged CIA run HAMMER program and Operation Scorecard, which some have claimed was used to change votes in swing states using electronic voting machines, are getting attention. But is this attention warranted and are the programs real?
What is the HAMMER Program?
Initial allegations of the HAMMER program’s existence began to surface in 2013. In an interview with the Maricopa County Sheriff Office (MCSO), Businessman Tim Blixeth explained the program and how he knew about it.. As per Blixeth, he found out about the HAMMER program after a contentious divorce with his ex-wife, former business partner of government IT contractor Dennis Montgomery. He says attorney-client information was being brought up at the divorce proceedings and he feared hacking was involved.
In 2013, after Montgomery was diagnosed with an aneurysm, he approached Blixeth and wanted to come clean about his involvement in creating a “supercomputer” program he created for the US government that could hack almost any server in the world. Montgomery confirms some unclassified parts of Blixeth’s story in a 2017 interview with attorney Larry Klayman.
According to Blixeth, HAMMER was designed by Dennis Montgomery on a supercomputer in Reno, Nevada for the CIA, NSA and US military. He claims its initial purpose was to hack the passwords of Al-Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist organizations’ servers and email to gather information. The basic gist of Montgomery’s invention is its ability to quickly run through possible password combinations until the right one is found, and the information on its servers can be accessed.
The possible government misuses of this technology are vast and according to Montgomery and multiple other sources, HAMMER was used against Americans under the Obama Administration. In 2013, even Representative Maxine Waters alluded to the possible existence of a Democrat controlled database that could have been created using the HAMMER program.
According to Blexith, Montgomery was approached by the CIA and Director John Brennan in 2009 to build his supercomputer program in Fort Washington, Maryland – the alleged CIA cyber headquarters. Blexith claims that when Montgomery created the program in 2004, it could run about ten million combinations a minute, while the new supercomputer at Fort Washington could run a billion password combinations a minute.
At this point, according to Blixeth, the program was still targeting Islamic extremists. Blixeth claims Montgomery told him Director of National Intelligence James Clapper asked Montgomery if the program could be used to get an Islamic extremist’s information from CitiBank. Bexith says the intelligence community came back, asking for access to additional CitiBank accounts, and eventually, a file of all of CitiBank’s customer’s account numbers, passwords and PINS. Blexith claims the CIA used hacking technology to access the banking information of every CitiBank customer, including American citizens. Eventually the intelligence community asked Montgomery for all of the account information for phone companies, like Verizon and AT&T, according to Blexith. According to Montgomery, this was all done outside of Congressional Oversight and without their knowledge.
What does HAMMER have to do with the election?
As Blexith explains, in 2012, Montgomery was again approached by the intelligence community, this time to hack the Florida voter registration system. He alleges that he downloaded the entire Florida voter registration file and gave it to Obama’s intelligence community. He then alleges he was asked to upload a file given to him by intelligence to upload into the Florida voter system.
While there is no conclusive evidence that the 2012 Florida event happened, academics and “white hat” hackers have been raising the alarm on the cyber security of voting machines and their ability to be hacked. The Georgetown Law Technology Review published an article earlier this year which highlights the vulnerabilities of electronic voting machines, from the expected number of bugs per line of coding to the ability to hack voting machines that are “never connected to the internet”. For the last four years, the Voting Village at the annual hacking conference DEF CON have shown how susceptible voting machines and their software are to hacking by doing just that, in live view at the conference.
We have already seen in Michigan and Georgia how the vote count can be manipulated with “computer glitches” when the count is transferred to the aggregation software used by the State, even if these “glitches” were due to forgetting to update the machine’s software. The question being raised by people like General Tom McInerney and Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn’s lawyer is: Has the intelligence community, which has already shown a willingness to politicize the tools at its disposal under the Trump administration, used the HAMMER program to switch the votes of Americans in the 2020 election under Operation Scorecard?
According to both General Tom McInerney and Sidney Powell, the HAMMER program was used to infiltrate the voting machine software in swing states to install an app called Scorecard, possibly moving the 3% of the vote in Biden’s favor. They are claiming the app is designed to switch votes for Republican candidates to Democrat candidates. In an interview the day before the election, General McInerney said that Scorecard tampers with the computers when data is transferred.
This particular point deserves reiterating: Scorecard is allegedly designed to steal votes by switching them during the transfer process. Oddly, this is the exact issue that PT News Network reported happened in both Georgia and Michigan counties. As reported, the votes were “scrambled” sometime after the cards were removed from the voting machine, “transported in sealed bags from the township precincts to county offices and then downloaded onto a computer.”
Is Montgomery Reliable as a Source?
If one Googles “Dennis Montgomery” and “surveillance”, the results include a variety of news stories and fact checks from 2009 and onward about the reliability of Montgomery as a source. While the HAMMER program is not named explicitly, these articles include interviews with named and unnamed US government sources who claim Montgomery’s programming never worked and that claims about his programs and skills were an elaborate hoax. Allegations that Montgomery was a con man were covered in detail in the book Pay Any Price by New York Times writer James Risen.
Currently, neither Montgomery nor Risen’s claims about Montgomery’s work for US intelligence and military agencies can be proved. What we do know is that Montgomery says that Brennan and Clapper leaked false information to the press in 2009 and 2011 to discredit him in case he ever went public with the domestic surveillance programs he built.
We also know that the government put an order of State Secrets Privilege on Montgomery in 2006, which prevented him from discussing any of his work for the government under penalty of treason. Some claim this was done because the government was embarrassed that they were taken by a conman while others point to this as proof that Montgomery did create the HAMMER program. Montgomery says the order prevented him from defending himself against Brennan and Clapper’s false allegations.
In addition, FBI lawyer James Baker confirmed in Congressional testimony that he interviewed Dennis Montgomery while the FBI was under Director Comey. In his interview with Klayman, Montgomery says his information was not acted upon by the FBI because he believes the FBI is involved in the surveillance program as well. These allegations conjure thoughts of the Trump-Russia investigation and the web of surveillance on the Trump campaign conducted by Comey, Brennan and Clapper.
While we don’t currently have enough proof to say Montgomery’s HAMMER program, allegedly used to change votes in the 2020 election, is a real tool being used to surveil Americans, there is quite a bit of circumstantial evidence. It is important to note that while Montgomery has been charged for writing bad checks in the past, he has never been charged with any wrongdoing in relation to his work for the federal government and the government has never tried to get back any of the more than $20 million in paid to Montgomery in government contracts.